“As sharp and fast as a street boy’s razor . . . a rich small feast of a book.”—The New York Times Book Review
Welcome to Manila in the turbulent period of the Philippines’ late dictator. It is a world in which American pop culture and local Filipino tradition mix flamboyantly, and gossip, storytelling, and extravagant behavior thrive.
A wildly disparate group of characters—from movie stars to waiters, from a young junkie to the richest man in the Philippines—becomes caught up in a spiral of events culminating in a beauty pageant, a film festival, and an assassination. In the center of this maelstrom is Rio, a feisty schoolgirl who will grow up to live in America and look back with longing on the land of her youth.
“Entertaining and compelling. . . . At the end, you emerge from its intense, dreamlike world feeling as if you’ve been to the Philippines.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Hagedorn transcends social strata, gender, culture, and politics in this exuberant, witty, and telling portrait of Philippine society.”—The San Diego Union